10 Questions with ... Johnny Maze
April 9, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- KHLR (103.9 The X)/College Station, TX 1995-97
- KTBZ (94.5 The Buzz)/Houston 1997-2000
- KCCQ (105.1 Channel Q)/Des Moines, IA 2001
- KSYR (92. The Buzz)/Shreveport, LA 2002
- KRXE (X105.9)/Lafayette, LA 2002-2004
- WRXW (Rock 93.9)/Jackson, MS 2004-2007
- WXZZ (Z Rock 103)/Lexington, KY 2007-2011
- KICT (T95)/Wichita, KS Sept 2011-Present
1) What was your first job in radio? Early influences?
Growing up in Houston, I was fortunate to have access to a junior college radio station that allowed non-students, and that was a great stepping stone to getting part-time jobs in Houston radio. That's how I got my foot in the door into the industry and ultimately chose this as a career. Houston was an incredible market to listen to with the likes of Stevens and Pruett, Moby, John Lander, Elvis Duran, Glenn Beck, Sam Malone and countless others. Also, spending my summers on the East Coast, I listened to NYC radio with Howard Stern and Scott Shannon.
2) What led you to a career in radio? Was there a defining moment that made you realize "this is it"?
I was intrigued by what came out of the speakers other than the actual music. The experience that I had at the junior college was probably the defining moment which led me wanting to do this for a career.
3) How long have you been at KICT (T95) and what makes this station so unique?
I've been in Wichita since September of 2011. T95 is a MONSTER in this market with the heritage. It debuted in 1979 as a Rock station and has a lot of history. Our listeners have truly grown up with the station. T95 has an incredibly passionate fan base and it's evident when we are on the streets and listeners come up and talk with us. I have two jocks on the air that have both been here over 10 years each. We have a strong syndicated morning show based out of Omaha within our company in Todd N Tyler who have been on T95 for seven years, and I have great access to them.
4) Besides your role as PD at T95, you are also PD for the Classic Rock station KFXJ (104.5 The Fox) and you do afternoons on The Fox as well ... how do you balance your time so all roles are effective?
Balancing time is a challenge for sure, but I've learned to tackle all of the roles and strive to get better each day. There are so many moving parts with balancing all of the roles, I have a great support staff that all do their part in helping with everything as well.
5) You have worked for a few radio companies in your career. Tell us about working for the Journal Broadcast Group?
Journal has been nothing but incredible. My former OM, who is now the VP/Programming for the entire group, Beverlee Brannigan, has been a great mentor in helping me evolve as a PD. I learn everyday from my new OM Justin Case, and my GM Eric McCart has helped me get better as a manager. There is a fabulous think tank of a great group of people that I work with from other rock PDs in Journal to our consultant that I am truly thankful for. I appreciate that we are able to make local decisions and go with it.
6) Let's talk about the music on T95 and The Fox. How much music sharing do you do between the two stations? Elaborate on the musical differences between your mainstream Rock (T95) and Classic Rock (The Fox).
Music sharing is about 20%. T95 is an '80s-based rock station and Fox is a '70s-based Classic Rock station. We share many artists, but certain titles are separated between the two stations.
7) What's your take on current Rock music? Is it as good as six months ago, better, or about the same?
I have limited currents on the mainstream, so it's really tough for a band to cut through to get on the air. We don't just add something to add it. We make sure it fits our vision of the station and that it's a song that we truly want to get behind and support. The turnover is much slower for us.
8) What does the Classic Rock format need to do TODAY and in the future to continue to stay relevant while playing music that is sometimes over 40 years old?
Providing good content about the music, the bands and the lifestyle are all a part of the puzzle. Connecting to your listeners via social media is becoming more and more important. Many of the bands are still touring and releasing albums of either new music or live/best of, so finding ways to connect listeners to those happy memories of then to making new memories today.
9) How much do both stations use their websites and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to help enhance the listener experience?
Our websites and social media are a huge part. I constantly strive to make our websites better each day with current content. Jock blogs, picture galleries and video are updated regularly. Both stations use Facebook heavily as well. As social media continues to evolve, we try to get better at it each day as well.
10) Tell us about your recent switch from T95 the "Rock Station" to WU95 the "Shock Station"?
This is one of the coolest things I've ever done in my career. It was no-brainer to do something, but I didn't want to just run sweepers showing support of the Wichita State Shockers as they continued to win in the tournament. It was too perfect that the name of the station and our positioning statement were easy transformed to WU 95 ...The Shock Station. We got the blessing from our higher-ups as well as the President of WSU signing off on the idea and we launched it at noon on the Friday before they played Ohio State on the Saturday. A cool 36-hour on-air event has turned into entire weeklong flip as WSU beat OSU and faced Louisville to get to the remaining four teams. The school mascot came to our station and we even got the head coach to cut a liner supporting WU 95. Listeners of T95 embraced it, students and alumni of WSU were supportive of the flip. WSU has used their social media to help spread the word of our name change. It's been a great experience to get behind this in this magnitude.
What do you like to do to relax when you're not in "radio mode"?
A round of golf, the dog park with my dog SJ, and Texas Hold Em poker are my top-three stress relievers to do other than a sports bar to watch football during the season.